Design Critique and Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)

Jun 2015–May 2016




look for online tools and create a hub that would facilitate the critique process in a studio setting




1. do a competitive analysis of existing TEL tools

2. understand and design a model for the critique process using Illustrator

3. design the project website using Illustrator



one Design professor

one Developer

one Design undergrad



I became a part of this project because I've always had an interest in education and how design can play a role in the everyday classroom. This project emphasized technology in the classroom, how it could enhance learning experiences and the design critique process.

Our initial goal during the summer was to research evidence that online tools have made a difference in the classroom, whether that impact is in lower or higher education, and to create a collection of online tools that educators can use or refer to.


Through the research, I needed to see what kind of tools exist and what effects they’ve had in the classroom, as well as various learning theories.

Research involved reading: 

  • articles
  • books
  • journals

In the middle of our research, my professor, partner, and I realized that not many people have a clear understanding of what a critique session entails and how to carry it out in the most effective way.

This prompted us to design a clear and understandable critique process.

My partner and I looked into how various people approach the critique process (included in the learning theories of our research) because we wanted to find a way to elaborate what students and educators should do for and during critique sessions. After going through papers and finding existing tools, we decided to create our own critique model, and it was my job to visualize the critique framework. These models would help visualize how the different roles in a critique session are connected and the actions each role may need to take for an effective critique.



We first tried to understand the different components of a critique session:

  • who and what is involved
  • who is presenting
  • what is being critiqued

After thinking about the different roles/components, we thought of the actions that each role carries out during the session–interpret and communicate.

We initially created the model without showing how the tools are connected because we needed to understand how each part is related to each other without any extrinsic influences. We included a key for viewers to understand the meaning of each word.


The next iteration (below) was designed after some discussion about the relationship between who’s critiquing and who’s presenting. We realized that they don’t necessarily interpret each other, but they are aware of each other and should be aware of each other’s context or history to better understand each other’s thoughts behind the designs. The outcome bubbles allude to what each role will get out of a critique and the input is what each role brings to the critique.


After some discussion, we decided that the framework would be easier to digest without a key to look back and forth to, so we put all the information in the bubbles. And rather than calling the green bubbles "input," the roles' contexts seemed to be clearer so we changed those. This model also shows how tools facilitate the actions among the roles.


After creating this model, we applied it to the organization of the online tools we found: labeling each tool for how it would help facilitate the critique process.



An undergrad co-worker and I created the video below to explain how we think a critique session could unfold. 


As an accompaniment to the model and tools, we designed worksheets that would facilitate the process for the roles. These worksheets were made with the intent to aid who’s critiquing, who’s presenting, and who’s facilitating before, during, and after the critique.


Re-designing the Website

We needed to make our work accessible, so we decided to create a website where it would live. I began to sketch wireframes with the mindset that this would be a completely new website. Here's a user-flow map and some wireframes (click to enlarge):



After creating these wireframes, I went right into making them digital using Illustrator.


After some discussion about how we were going to present ourselves online, we decided to have our project on a website that contains my professor's other projects, instead of having a completely new website. Our project has more supplements than the other projects on his website so we needed to give our project its own navigation system.

These are some screenshots of the redesigned menu (click to enlarge):


And this is how the final website looks (click to enlarge):


What I Learned

  • to be prepared for big changes (not using the website I originally designed, but re-designing the existing website)
  • how design can impact education: by using design thinking and design principles, we were able to clarify the critique process as best as possible
  • how to have an effective critique session
  • technology can positively impact a classroom, but isn't used as often as we may think